Dark circles under the eyes

Author: Brian Wu PhD. MD Candidate, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, USA; Chief Editor: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, July 2015.

What are dark circles under the eyes?

Dark circles under the eyes describes a common appearance of the lower eyelids that has various causes. The dark appearance can be due to:

The appearance can be challenging to treat.

Who gets dark circles under the eyes?

Those prone to dark circles under the eyes include:

What causes dark circles under the eyes?

Pigmentation under the eyes is associated with dermal deposition of melanin. Dermal melanin deposition is often due to post-inflammatory pigmentation, which may follow:

Loss of fatty tissue in the eyelid or around the eye (tear trough) is associated with:

Bulging or puffy eyelids may be due to systemic conditions, particularly:

Thin translucent skin is commonly observed with:

Shadowing is more noticeable at times, due to:

Superficially located blood vessels and blood stasis may contribute to the darkened appearance.

How are dark circles under the eyes diagnosed?

Correct diagnosis of dark circles under the eyes can be difficult. It involves:

How are dark circles under the eyes treated?

Treatment of dark circles under the eyes depends on its nature. General measures include:

Unfortunately, many of the remedies on the market lack evidence of efficacy.

Medical treatments to reduce pigmentation can include:

Loss of tissue (hollowing) and tear trough can be managed by aesthetic medical and surgical procedures:

Considerable training and experience is required to optimise results. Improvement may be partial. Incorrect technique may make the dark circles look more prominent that before the procedure.

Related information

Email Newsletter

Would you like to receive DermNet updates by email?

Submit your images

We're seeking high-quality photos of skin diseases.  

SUBMIT A PHOTO

Skin lesion photography

Watch Dr Amanda Oakley presenting "Skin lesion photography" at The Australasian Skin Cancer Congress.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
DermNet NZ Newsletter